Some Photos Taken at the Peto Institute

A posting on Facebook today led me to a collection of 49 black and white photos taken of children and conductors at the Peto Institute.


These are not dated but look to me like they were probably taken in the 1990s, and how they came to be taken  is not stated.

The photographer, Stuart Freedman, started taking photos professionally in 1991 and is now a celebrated photographer worldwide covering a wide variety of topics and events.




New book on Conductive Education available from today


Maguire, G.,and Sutton, A, ed. András  Pető.  Birmingham: Conductive Education Press.   £17.50



I am very pleased to announce that a new book has been published by Conductive Education Press. This is entitled András Pető and can be found at


A brief description of this book is as follows:

András Pető was a healer. In difficult and tumultuous circumstances in post-War Hungary, out of a personal practice of movement therapy with paralysed children and adults, he developed a pedagogic method from which modern-day ‘Conductive Education’ proudly traces its origins.
But who was he? What did he actually do? Indeed, what was his method?
Surprisingly little has been generally known about András Pető, even amongst his most ardent followers. In his life he cultivated an aura of mystery; in death he became a myth.
This book offers personal recollections from close associates and colleagues, some previously published, some specially written for this publication, along with a range of attempts to sum up and understand his life and work. Originals were written in German, Hungarian and English. Here they are presented in English.
Also here are detailed course-notes for his students, written at the pivotal time that his movement therapy was emerging as conductive movement pedagogy, plus a short collection of his poems that reveal so rawly some of his own mental anguish. Written in Hungarian and German respectively, these too are presented here in English translation, along with facsimiles of their originals.
This book should help disperse some of the myth around András Pető, so that its readers may begin to create their own critical appreciation of who he was and what he did. It is hoped that it will also help readers question and challenge what they already understand about András Pető and his work, and how this relates to present-day practices and the invocation of his name.
This book is no final statement. The field of Pető Studies awaits further, extensive cultivation

With Forewords by Judit Forrai, Jo Lebeer and Reuven Feuerstein

Copies can be ordered fromhttp://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore/detail/3575875

Thank you Claire…and congratulations

Over the years I have got know the names of those who have become involved in Conductive Education in a variety of ways. For example, some are conductors, some parents,  some professionals, and some who now ‘use the principles’ of Conductive Education.
In Hong Kong I met a lady whose name I had known for many years. I knew that she had gone to Budapest with her child and then become actively involved in trying to bring CE to Australia – Claire Cotter, parent, occupational therapist and Honorary Conductor.
Claire gave me two videos of  historical interest, videos of the 1991 Australian conference containing presentations by Maria Hari, amongst others. These are now part of my growing library and very important additions.
Thank you very much, Claire, these will be preserved and made available to others in the future.
Whilst preparing this blog I came across a news item about her reporting an award she had received from the  Victorian State Government in Australia  for her work helping “those with disabilities participate in their communities”.
Claire is the first recipient of the Victorian Disability Sector’s leadership award for all her hard work.
She founded the Cerebral Palsy Education Center, which is staffed by physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and receives input from a conductor.


Hearty congratulations, Claire, and thanks again for the videos.
It was lovely to meet you!

‘History is more or less bunk’ – is it so for Conductive Education?

I have received an enquiry about the history of Conductive Education which made me realise that this is a very difficult area to investigate with few accurate sources.Over the years I have seen a number of publications and papers which give different accounts, have different dates for the same events and different emphases. Primary sources for information are very thin on the ground and quite a few accounts rely on the memories of those involved and have no references for follow up. I built up a collection of such materials, which can give at least some of the answers if carefully looked at, and the National Library of Conductive Education is now a rich resource of all sorts of material, including videos and press cuttings, in a variety of languages which can help to confirm facts and check details. I am sure that the Peto Institute library has an equally good collection of material too.

This would make a wonderful research project for someone.

Here are a few items which may be worth considering in a first trawl through the known resources, in no particular order.


Hári, M. (1999) A history of conductive pedagogy. Budapest: International Peto Institute.

Mária Hári produced this history published in Hungarian, English and German editions which includes details of the spread of CE outside Hungary. Some details do not tally with other accounts especially in relation to the UK. As I recall, there are no references.

Forrai, J. (1999) Memoirs of the beginnings of conductive pedagogy and András Petõ. Budapest: Ú j Aranyhí d and Birmingham: Foundation for Conductive Education.

This concentreates on the memories of those who knew Peto and discusses how he started, who he worked with and the development of his services into the Institute.

Sutton, A. (1986) The social-historical context. In Cottam, P. and Sutton, A., ed. Conductive Education; a system for overcoming motor disorder. London: Croom Helm, pp.3-28.

This early account includes a number of references that were available in English at the time of writing and concentrates on the system in Hungary.

Sutton, A. (2004) Mária Hári, from whom we have still so much to learn. Unpublished paper.

A paper read in tribute to Mária Hári after her death and looks at her achievements.

Kilborn, E. (2007) The Hungarian origins of Conductive Education: an educational system for children with neurological disorders (1945-2001). Unpublished paper.

This paper was written as a precursor to a research project which did not get started in the end.

Balogh, M., ed. (2007) Mária Hári and her conductive education. Budapest: International Pető Institute.

This book is also a tribute to Hári and looks at the development of the Peto Institute. English and Hungarian editions are available.

Ákos, K. and Ákos, M. (1997) The enigmatic Dr Petõ . The Conductor, 6(3-4), pp.49-55.

The Ákos’ recall their experiences of working with Peto.

Maguire, G. and Sutton, A., ed. (2004) Mária Hári on conductive pedagogy. Birmingham: Foundation for Conductive Education.

This is a collection of papers presented by Mária Hári between 1967 and 2001. Each paper has an introduction putting it in its historical context.

On a previous blog in November 2008, I included a list of material relating to Peto himself.

This is only a small selection and I would suggest anyone wishing to consult any of these or other material in the National Library should contact mel@conductive-education.org.uk

By the way, just in case you were wondering, the title of this posting includes a well known quote from Henry Ford, motor car manufacturer.

Conductive Education Classic no.7

This book, the first comprehensive overview of Conductive Education in English, was written mainly because Cottam and Sutton, as working academics, needed to publish a book. Regular publications such as journal articles and books are expected of those working in the world of academe. Both having recently come across Conductive Education, and considering it an important system for those with motor disorders, it was an obvious choice for both and resulted in this collaboration.
It was published in 1986, twenty three years ago and was consciously an ‘academic book’. The publisher, Croom Helm, was an adventurous young publishing house that would take on unlikely subjects in the expectation that some at least would be runners and accepted it straight away.
It was hoped that it would attract academic interest in the project proposed by the Birmingham Group and pre-dated the Foundation for Conductive Education by nearly 12 months. In the event Standing up for Joe ( the BBC TV documentary) created a wider interest and sales of the book rode on that. The proper academic interest never really took of, but lots of parents and practitioners bought the book (though it was not really directed to them).
Sales were good for an academic book of that kind and it went to three reprints in a couple of years. In 1988, Croom Helm asked whether the authors would permit a fourth, but they declined. Two years on into the project Cottam and Sutton already knew so much more about Conductive Education , so different from what all previous people had known, that they knew it to be not just out of date, but wrong in important respects.

To quote from the back of the book:

It describes the origins and development of Conductive Education in Hungary and its derivatives in Britain and elsewhere and how the system operates in practice. The difficulties of successfully applying Conductive Education outside Hungary are considered and discussed. The book includes a bibliography of all materials published in English on this topic and assesses both the prospects and limitations of Conductive Education.

It is divided into three parts with contributions from Andrew Sutton, Philippa Cottam, Jayne Titchener and Veronica Nanton.
Part one looks at the social-historical context and the practice as observed by Andrew Sutton.
Part two covers the practice outside Hungary and discusses the suitability of Conductive Education as an approach for the physically and mentally handicapped.
Part three looks at the problems and prospects in bringing it to the West and includes a chapter on Parkinson’s disease.

A bibliography of all relevant known publications is included and many of these are still referred to today.


It wasn’t widely reviewed. Academics tended to like it. professionals less so, but numbers were too small to generalise. Copies of these reviews are available in the National Library of Conductive Education.

This book is only one academic review of the whole phenomenon and is now over twenty years out of date, but holds a very important place in the development of knowledge about Conductive Education outside of Hungary.

Cottam, P. and Sutton, A., ed. (1986) Conductive Education; a system for overcoming motor disorder. London: Croom Helm.

Standing up for Joe BBC 1, April 1988.

What do we know about András Pető?

Those of you who are following Andrew’s and Susie’s blogs, will have realised that knowledge of András Pető the man is very skimpy indeed with a lot based on hearsay and comments of those who actually knew him. He gave very little away and much of the personal information we have is reminiscences, often contradictory, and not factual evidence.I have compiled a list of material in held in the National Library which includes unpublished material, newspaper articles, contributions to books and also some items written by the man himself. These are in a variety of languages – English, Hungarian, German, Swedish and Norwegian. A student conductor in the late 1980s did start to investigate his life and work but never finished (Szorenyi, 1990; 1994), Judit Forrai published a collection of reminiscences (1999), and Mária Hári (who spoke at his funeral) produced several accounts of his life and establishment of what became the Pető Institute.As you will see very little published material by Pető has been traced so far, but further discoveries may be made in the future. In the 1920s and 1930s he published under a variety of pseudonyms, some of which are included in the list below.

I am sure this is not everything and would welcome any information about other pieces, and especially copies of such items, that would make useful additions to my collection.

Pető the man

Ákos, K. and Ákos, M.(1997) The enigmatic Dr. Pető. The Conductor, 6(3-4),
pp.49-55.Anon (1993) In memoriam Pető. In International Pető Institute, Pető András (1893-1993), Budapest: International Pető Institute, pp.30-37.

Anon (2000) Pető an König. Fortschritt, nos.2-3, p10.
Anon (2006) András Pető. [online] Wikipedia Fooundation. Accessed 20 December 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A1s_Pet%C5%91Bachmann, W. and others (1977) András Pető. In Bachmann, W., and others, Biographies of Hungarian special educators. Rheinstetten: Schindele, pp.94-95.

Balogh, M. and Ocsenás, T. (2001) Hungarians of the century: András Pető. In International Pető Institute, Abstracts of the 4th World Congress on Conductive Education. Budapest: International Pető Institute, p13.
Billington, I. (2003) András Pető. In Billington, I., Petö-metoden – en tverrfaglig utfordring. Oslo: N.W.Damm & Søn, pp.26-28.
Bíró, K. (1993) Remembering András Pető. In International Pető Institute, Pető András (1893-1993). Budapest: International Pető Institute, pp.16-23.Dévai, J. (1997) The first years with András Pető. Unpublished paper.

Dezséry, L. (1962) About a wonderful school. Magyar Hétköznapok, 29 May.

Fekete, G. (1970) Professor Pető’s legacy. Népszabadság, 31 October, p.6.
Forrai, J. (1999) Memoirs of the beginnings of conductive pedagogy and András Pető. Budapest: Új Aranyhíd and Foundation for Conductive Education.
Forster, V. (1997) A view from the past. The Conductor, 6(3-4), pp.43-48.György, I. (1967) The man to whom there were no hopeless cases. Népszabadság, 13 September, p.11.

Halász, Z. (1965) Home thoughts from across the Channel. [Brief mention of Pető, pp.112-113.] New Hungarian Quarterly pp.100-113.

Hári, M. (1996) In memory of Pető. Pető Magazine, Summer, pp.5-8.

Hári, M. (1997) A konduktív pedagógia története. Budapest: MPANNI.

Hári, M. (1999) Die Geschichte der konduktiven Pädagogik. Budapest: International Pető Institute.
Hári, M. (2001) The history of Conductive Education. Conductive Education Occasional Papers, supplement 2. Budapest: International Pető Institute.
Hári, M., and others (1991) The origins of Conductive Education. In Hári, M., and others, A konduktív pedagógiai rendszer, Budapest: International Pető Institute,pp.9-20 and 212-213.
Harris, C. (1989) Pető – friend of the CP child. Therapy Weekly, 15 June, p.6.Horváth, J. (1997) András Pető; a brief biographical sketch. In Taylor, M. and Horváth, J., ed., Conductive Education occasional papers, no.1. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books, pp.1-6.

International Pető Institute (1999) Who was András Pető? http://www.peto.hu/Tortenet/peto.htm (Accessed 25 October 1999)

International Pető Institute (1993) Pető András (1893-1993). Budapest: International Pető Institute.

Kapronczay, K. (1993) Remembering András Pető. In International Pető Institute, Pető András (1893-1993), Budapest: International Pető Institute, pp.24-29.

Kenyeres, A., ed. (1985) András Pető. In Kenyeres, A., ed. Magyar Életrajzi Lexikon. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, pp.613-614.

Kerényi, P. (1989) Pető, the man. Hungarian Observer, 3 (2), p5.

Lehnhardt, R. (1965) Lebenshilfe für Bewegungsversehrte. Schwabische Zeitung, p? [English translation in The Conductor, 4(4), 1992, p65.]

Liljeroth, I. (2004) Pető’s liv fram till starten av KP. In Liljeroth, I. Konduktiv pedagogik. Goteberg: Bräcke Diakoni, pp.19-22.

Liphart, A. (1993) From András Pető to the Pető Institute. Unpublished paper. [English summary by R. Szörenyi of a programme broadcast by Izülőföldünk, 10 September]

Medveczky, E. (2006) Dr András Pető. In Medveczky, E. Conductive Education as an educational method of neurorehabilitation. Budapest: International Pető Institute, pp.11-13.

Mallet, S. (2008) Angels and souls, to me its one and the same. Nurnberg: Mallett.[online]http://konduktorin.blogspot.com/2008/11/angels-and-souls-to-me-its-one-and-same.html

Nádas, P. (1967) A man dies. Pest Megyei Hírlap, p?

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION (2000) András Pető 1893-1967; a selection of items from periodicals and the Hungarian press. Unpublished collection.

Papp, C. The spirit, rehabilitation and character formation. Magyarország, 1 October, p.24.

Pintér, G. (2003) András Pető and Jacob Levi Moreno. In Balogh, E. and Kozma, I., ed. Conductive Education Occasional Papers no.10. Budapest: International Pető Institute, pp.1-12.

Popper, P. (2001) Buddha Budapesten. In Popper, P. Holdidő. Budapest: Saxum, pp.51-70.

Ruffy, P. (1967) Professor Dr András Pető. Magyar Nemzet, 15 August, p?

Ruffy, P. (1974) Nagyszerü mérges ember. In Ruffy, P. Úttalan utakon. Budapest: Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó, pp.97-102.

Ruffy, P. (1987) An angry man with the face of Buddha; András Pető. Magyar Nemzet, 4 July, pp.8-9.

Sarkány, J. (1994) Memories of Dr András Pető. The Conductor, 5(3-4), pp.75-76.

Sutton, A. (2000) The mysterious András Pető; report on the literary evening.
Unpublished paper.

Sutton, A. (2008) Dialogue with Judit 1. Birmingham: Sutton. [online] http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/11/dialogue-with-judit-i.html

Sutton, A. (2008) Dialogue with Judit 2. Birmingham: Sutton. [online] http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/11/dialogue-with-judit-ii.html

Szörenyi, R. (1990) A portrait sketch of András Pető, founder of Conductive Education. Unpublished paper.

Szörenyi, R. (1994) Bibliography of Pető’s works1921-1935 with chronology of his life 1893-1922. Unpublished paper.

Török, S. (1979) Table talk with Pető. In Török, S. Egy kis kertet szerettem volna. Budapest: Magveto Kiadó, pp.245-259.

Vekerdy, T. The charisma of a maverick healer. New Hungarian Quarterly, 34 (Spring), pp.115-120.

Wikipedia (2008) Pető András. San Francisco: Wikimedia Foundation. [online] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andras_Peto

Pető’s Works

Bärnklau, O. (1965) [pseudonym] Unfug der Krankheit. Hanau: Verlag Karl Schustek.

Bärnklau, O. (1965) [pseudonym] Gibt es unheil bare Krankheiten? Nein! Lindau-Bodensee:Rudolph’s Verlagsbuchandlung.

Jernqvist, L., ed. (2005) Pető’s letters to Ester Cotton 1965-1966. Cumbernaud: Jernqvist.

Pető, A. (1921-1935) Papers written under various pseudonyms. Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift, [In German]

Pető, A. (1930-1931) Papers written under various pseudonyms. Biologische Heilkunst, 11, 12. [In German]

Pető, A. (1952) Szoviet mozgásterápia módszerek.[ Paper read at Hungarian Special Education and Training conference, December 1952.] Unpublished paper.

Pető, A. (1955) Curriculum vitae. Unpublished paper.

Pető, A. (1956) Konduktív mozgásterápia mint gyógypedagógia. [Conductive movement therapy as special education] Gyógypedagógia, 1, pp.15-21. [Annotated and abridged version by A. Sutton in The Conductor, 5 (2), 1993, pp.37-39.]

Pető, A. (1959) Letter to Dr. König. [Briefly describes the practice of Conductive Education]. Unpublished paper.

Pető, A. (1962) Bevezető a konduktiv mozgáspedagógiába. Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó.

Pető, A. (1965) Notes on organic neurocare. Unpublished paper.

Pető, A. (1965) Pető’s proverbs. Compiled by E. Cotton. Unpublished paper.

Pető, A. (1965) Pető’s proverbs or truth in a nutshell. Compiled by J. House 1969. Unpublished paper. [A version of those by E. Cotton]